How long do children go to school in South Africa?
Today children in South Africa go to school for twelve years. Most schools are state schools. For a long time there were only a few private schools. Now the proportion is increasing because the lessons at private schools are usually better than at state schools. However, you have to pay school fees there.
97 out of 100 children go to school in South Africa. Six out of 100 men and seven out of 100 women cannot read. They are then called illiterate.
From preschool to college
In South Africa there is a preschool, a kind of kindergarten, but it is not compulsory. Children from the age of four can visit these. This is followed by elementary school. Schooling is compulsory for children between the ages of seven and 15, at least the children must have attended the ninth grade.
After the ninth grade, they can go to college. However, if you want to graduate from a university, you have to have attended school for twelve years and also obtained a degree. That roughly corresponds to our Abitur here in Germany.
In which language do South African children learn?
Incidentally, there is no uniform language of instruction for South African children. As there are eleven official languages in South Africa, the children are taught for as long as possible in their “own” language, which can vary from province to province. By the way, in South Africa all children wear a school uniform.
When are the summer holidays in South Africa?
A school year in South Africa always begins in January and ends in December and is then divided into four quarters. But the summer holidays in South Africa are when it’s winter here, namely in December and January. It’s summer there, because the country is in the southern hemisphere. The vacation then lasts seven weeks, something as long as ours.
The differences keep growing
Even if the government is investing a lot of money in education and trying to balance the injustices that still exist between black and white children, there are still major grievances in the country. There are schools without water, without toilets and without electricity. Sometimes the children do not receive school books.
In addition, there are many teachers who do not actually have any proper teacher training. They are poorly paid and, unfortunately, often do not give lessons. Again and again there are teachers’ strikes. The standard of education falls, even though one actually wishes it to improve.
How are children in South Africa?
You can imagine that the lives of children in South Africa are very different. We also have differences, but we still try to at least work towards equality of opportunities. But this gap, this difference above all between rich and poor – usually this means between people with black skin and people with white skin – is very large in South Africa.
The consequences of the long apartheid policy, i.e. racial segregation, cannot be eliminated overnight. 48 million live in great poverty. Along with Brazil, South Africa is the country with the greatest unequal distribution in the entire world.
And so there are also many poor children in South Africa whose families do not have access to clean drinking water, who cannot use toilets and who have to go without electricity. One of the biggest problems is the high unemployment in the country.
How many children live on the streets in South Africa?
We do not know exactly how many children live on the streets in South Africa, a country located in Africa according to aceinland. The numbers vary between 30,000 and up to 1.5 million. When you see children or young people on the streets of South Africa, you don’t know whether they just hang out a bit and kill time or whether they live there permanently.
Maybe they have parents, siblings and a home in one of the numerous townships. Or maybe not. Most of the street kids are boys. The age is between eleven and 22 years. 80 to 90 out of 100 are men, the rest are girls and young women.
The fate of the AIDS orphans
Many children are so-called AIDS orphans, which means that their parents died of AIDS. Many children, especially girls, have to look after their younger siblings. Many of these “child families” do not even have a roof over their heads and have to beg to get something to eat at all.
So it is no wonder that some children slide into crime too. They steal to get money for food. And the struggle for survival is cruel, some do not survive. Some resort to alcohol or drugs.
Whoever spends most of the day on the street is called streetwise in South Africa. Girls also live on the streets, they are exposed to greater dangers than boys and there is always a risk of being attacked.
Child labor in South Africa
Although South Africa is the richest country on the entire African continent, children work there. Although this has improved since the abolition of apartheid, the living conditions for many black South Africans are still poor. In addition, there is the high number of HIV- infected people.
Some of the children help their parents on the farms and fields. Quite a few work as street vendors and walk through the streets, mainly selling flowers to tourists. Girls have to hire themselves out as maids. As tourism grows in South Africa, children are also sexually exploited and victims of prostitution.
Child labor is not allowed in South Africa either
South African law does not allow child labor. Children under 15 years of age are not allowed to be employed and under 18 they are not allowed to perform dangerous activities. But there are some companies, especially farms, that do not adhere to them. They also employ younger children, who often have to work more than 14 hours a day and all week for a very low wage. They have no rights and no protection if they fall ill.